View of apartment buildings in Singapore.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) permits developers to exclude some spaces from the computation of the gross floor area (GFA) to achieve certain planning objectives, revealed National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
“For example, air conditioner ledges below one metre in width are exempted from GFA in order to encourage developers to house air conditioner condensers neatly in residential developments.”
On the other hand, balconies are not excluded from the GFA, and developers must pay a development charge for them.
When pricing units in their developments, he explained that developers factor in the strata area, which encompasses floor space sold to the buyer on the basis that it is for the buyer’s exclusive enjoyment. As balconies and air-con ledges solely serve individual units, they are considered part of the strata area, and are therefore chargeable to the buyer.
Wong was responding to a parliamentary query from Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng on whether the URA is reviewing the rule of allowing developers to build big air-con ledges and balconies for non-landed homes without them being counted as part of the GFA, and yet buyers are being charged for such space.
Ang also asked whether developers are required to disclose the floor areas dedicated for balconies, air-con ledges and other outdoor space in the floor plans of housing developments during their launch.
In response, Wong said that developers are already obliged to provide potential buyers with a drawn-to-scale floor plan of the unit they are intending to purchase, including a detailed breakdown of various types of spaces, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, air-con ledges and balconies.
“This information must be given to prospective buyers before they pay the booking fee for an Option to Purchase the unit,” he noted.
Furthermore, the floor area of such spaces must be accurately depicted in the show flats. The URA will not hesitate to act against developers who misrepresent such information to buyers, Wong added.
For details on what constitutes as GFA, please visit: www.ura.gov.sg/uol/publications/technical/dc-handbooks/handbook-on-gross-floor-area.